Category Archives: Lapidary

A Walk Down Silver Memory Lane

I was thinking back about my journey in silversmithing and went looking for photos of early work. I was very surprised that my first silver jewelry piece was thirteen years ago. I thought it had only been about 5 years.

That was one of my Monet beads. At that time I decided that silver wasn’t for me. It didn’t come as easily as the glass did and I didn’t really have time to take on the amount of hours necessary to get up to speed because I had to keep selling beads.

I tried a few more pieces and then hung up my metal tools for a while. Five years later I visited my friend Chris in Wisconsin to help her with a class at the Bead & Button Show. After the show she gave me some pointers and when I got home I picked up the Little Torch again. This time I went a little crazy and tried to set into silver everything I could find in the studio.

I was having a lot of fun but I felt that something was missing. Mainly, it was my skill that was missing but, I kept at it and tried a few more.

Pretty ragged lookin, but that is how you get better.

This was the little area when I played with metal back then:
You really don’t need a big space to get it done, and it suited me just fine. Since that time I’ve upgraded the studio, a lot. As in, we built on another addition, and I got an official jewelry bench. I still use a lot of the same tools with which I started. The original plan for the new studio space was to be for additional torch stations, my jewelry bench, and maybe some woodworking equipment.

Guess where my jewelry bench ultimately ended up?

Right back in my old glass studio. I love how I can rotate my chair to access soldering and polishing equipment however I do feel a little boxed in. I’ve been brainstorming how I can feng shui it but the room dimensions are posing a challenge so I’m trying to get used to it. (you can click on these last two pictures to see a larger view).

I’ve since gotten rid of all of my glass and most of my glass tools and transformed the former torch station into a lapidary lab.

I’ll continue this little walk down silver memory lane in my next post, and show you how my work has gotten to where I am now and a little bit about where I want to go with it.

Conversations with Rocks

Yesterday I came to an impasse with the silver so I moseyed over to the lapidary station and started going through my rock collection. That’s one thing I love about making this type of jewelry. If I get stymied in one area there are plenty of others I can jump to for a while in order to clear my head.

I’ve been looking at one particular rock for a while now, just knowing that it was meant for greater things. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it before I started in on it but you can see it here, where I used it for a photographic prop.

Well, yesterday he spoke to me and encouraged me to use him. I had mixed feelings about that because I found it hard to believe that if something was sentient enough to talk to me, surely it wouldn’t be telling me to chop it up into little pieces. But, I went with it because I get into that stuff, and it was nice to have someone to chat with for the moment in my solitary studio. He reassured me that it was ok, and reminded me that matter is never destroyed, it just changes form. I promised him that I’d keep him beautiful and do him justice.

I think my cutting and polishing came out well, and I now had to give him a good home, or homes, in silver. But I wasn’t ready for getting back to the silver just yet. I was loving the black and white palette so I pulled out some fossil slab that had been waiting patiently for me since February.

That’s when the voices really started. And you can see why. All of those little white things used to be motile little creatures and they still have a lot to say. I set about freeing them into little vignettes of their last moments before being frozen in time.

It was hard to choose which areas to focus on. The more I looked at them, the more I saw and I know that the images are tiny and detailed but I hope that when someone wears them in a piece of jewelry that they find enjoyment in peering deeply and experience the realms that I do.

The one below caught my eye immediately. My first unicorn sighting. I have a feeling it won’t be my last.

Live on, little buddies.